Monsterseed (commonly mis-spelled as Monster Seed) is a “monster battling” 3D turn based tactical RPG made by Sunsoft and released on the orignal Playstation back in 1998. It’s contemperies at the time where Pokemon, Digimon and the lesser known Monster Rancher. (Only the first game mentioned was not released for the Playstation!) The game has a typical story mode as well as a two player Vs. mode where players can duke it out with the monsters that they created during the single player game.
The player controls Master Daniel a “Ruler” who is able to summon powerful monsters to do his bidding but unfortunately while traveling he sold off his monsters and was then accosted by two mysterious men who also where also rulers and is beaten up. Luckily for him a man named Wolf finds him and brings him back to his house where his daughter Kai nursed him back together. After Daniel recovers he promised to repay Kai and her father for their kindness and promptly goes to the village chief to apply for a job where the chief promptly recordings him as a ruler and gives him various monster battling related tasks and so the adventure begins.
Monsterseed plays like a typical RPG some respects. The player is required to wonder around town and talk to the town folk to gain clues and new quests. The game has a linear story progression but as the player unlocks new areas they may return to old areas. This can be important as each area hosts it own unique set of monsters and thus many monsters can only be found in certain aeras.
The town itself hosts a monster arena for sparing agasint other rulers, useful to earn some extra cash and items. As well as an typical item shop and inn found in most RPG’s. Then there is the ‘Monster Shop’ which allows the player to buy and sell monsters as well as create them.
Creating a monster in Monsterseed is simple. The player must first have a “Monsterseed” (or “Seed” for short) which they must want to hatch in their possesion. Then they most select what tempture they which to hatch the “Seed” at. Finally the player gets to add up to four stat altering “Soloutions” to the monster before it’s born. The game does inform players what kind of monsters they can get from a seed and what is the idea tempeture that the seed should be hatched from. But sometimes a player will recive a “Reject”, an almost entirely useless monster if they fail to follow the “seed” data’s guidelines properly.
Wondering though the areas is in real time and is much like your standard J-RPG where you can be randomly attacked by monsters or enemy rulers, then the game becomes turn based. While the battles of Monsterseed may seem like you typical turn based affair there are some unique differences from other games that might share a similar system like Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre. The players does not directly control the monsters, only “‘Master Daniel”. In this reguard the monster’s personality plays a huge role in battles. (it’s personality, as well as the rest of it’s stats and speical moves is mentioned in it’s bio data) For example a monster with a “Lazy” personality will often moan at it’s ruler to unsummon him as they feel that they have done enough work for that particular battle while there are still enemies on the field. The player has a basic set of commands that they can issue a monster ranging from attack or defend to assisting other monsters or rush headlong in to the enemy ruler. (known as a suicide charge or “suicide” for short as it’s described in the menu itself!)
The battles are normally a 4 Vs. 4 affair with one of the slots on each team being taken up by the ruler. Each ruler may only have three monsters out at a time and if your monster is unconscious and about to die you can not cast another monster till that monster disappears of the battlefield. Another intresting ascpet ofthe game is that there is “permadeath” for the monsters. This means unless a ruler uses a phoenix down style item on a monster before it disappears the monster is gone forever. Also monsters will eventually grow old and die. If the monster likes it’s ruler enough it will do a super powerful attack that normally takes out or at least damages all the enemies on the battlefield as a parting gift and there is no way of brining a monster back once they have performed the attack.
Monsterseed uses an action point system and ‘Daniel” has 8 action points a turn. Turning and walking takes one point while hitting an enemy with a basic attack takes 3. This also applies for the monsters as well and their various special moves will require different amounts of AP to cast or use. It is also possible for Master Daniel to learn new moves himself but this seems to happen randomly. In fact if possible to go though the entire game and not have him learn a single new move.
It is also possible to use healing items and attack items in battle and much like any normal RPG there are plenty of status effects to be weary off which items can cure. There is the usual stuff like poison, sleeping and so on made it to the game but the most lethal status of all is “Petrify” which turns who ever is unfortunate to receive the spell in to stone. If this is cast on a ruler and they don’t have a monster that can cast the antidote within three turns then it’s game over.